If you prefer collecting a smaller sum of money over the shorter-term as opposed to a larger sum over a longer period, chances are your behavior is driven by instant gratification, which flows over into other parts of your life. An article, Money Habits Linked To Behavioral Patterns, discusses the results of a recent study that found a correlation between spending habits and smoking, overeating, and infidelity.
It seems that those of us driven by instant gratification tend to reep short-term benefits more than we look at long-term affects. This means that we would prefer to take a smaller amount of money immediately, rather than wait a few months and collect a higher sum of money. Likewise, we would tend to eat according to emotional fulfillment as opposed to long-term good health.
To me, this makes sense as humans have always been short-term thinkers, not more than 5-10 years down the road, at the most. The only time we tend to change behavior is during a time of crisis, such as when resources become scarce. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Big Mac becoming scarce anytime soon, so I think McDonald’s will be doing well for many years to come.
One thing I would like to see, is the study broken out more by persona and/or demographics. Does social class have anything to do instant gratification and eating habits? Do those with higher paying jobs resist instant gratification better than a lower paying job? How about home owners versus apartment renters?
While I find this fascinating, I would love to see more of the data set and do my own mining.
What do you think? Is the link a surprise?